5/7/13

Raptors in a Holding Pattern For Now

The Raptors have kind of been in a state of limbo since the end of the season. This was no doubt due to the incoming arrival of Tim Leiweke as the head of MLSE. He stated that the Raptors would be first on his plate. First on that list for the Raptors is obviously determining the future of Bryan Colangelo. It would seem that may be coming soon as meeting are expected to take place with the board and Leiweke and Colangelo as well. Leiweke has stated that he will be advising the board in terms of what to do in terms of Colangelo.

It could go just as many expected with Colangelo having his option picked up. Phil Jackson who was rumoured to be a candidate to replace Colangelo has since got involved with the Pistons as a consultant in their coaching search. It does make sense for Jackson to wait a season if he had true interest in the Raptors job. It would also allow Dwane Casey another year to try and establish himself as the coach of this team. No one expects the Raptors to contend next season. They do expect them to make the playoffs. But if you wait a year on deciding to bring in someone new to replace Colangelo it would not be the end of the world. Bryan has put this team in such a position that not a lot can be done to change the roster. The core group he has brought in to the fold is pretty much locked in.

Another thing still to be determined is if the Raptors will have any role in the NBA Draft in terms of having a draft pick. Short of winning the draft lottery and landing in the Top 3 they will not be a part of things currently. On surface winning the lottery in any of the top 3 spots would be a major headache for the Raptors. The Raptors just don’t have the room to add a guaranteed contract at the level a top 3 pick would be paid.

What a top 3 pick could mean is a legitimate chip to add to a trade of Andrea Bargnani without having to part with another key piece of the roster like a Terrence Ross. If you add a pick in the top 3 to Bargnani maybe you can actually get something decent in return for him. It would have to be crafted in a round about way. In other words after the draft pick is made as the Raptors would still owe their first round pick to OKC if they indeed did win the lottery. The NBA does not allow teams to trade first round picks in consecutive years hence why the Raptors would technically have to make the pick.

We have seen this in the past where a trade is agreed too by the parties and than the Raptors would pick on behalf of the team they are trading with. This happened most recently in the trade with Pacers in which the Raptors selected Roy Hibbert on behalf of the Pacers in the T.J Ford and O’Neal trade.

The real downside for the Raptors hitting in the lottery is the chance of losing a pick in the draft next season. This would happen if the Raptors missed the playoffs and did not land in the top two spots. So it would protect them with a shot at the top spot and Andrew Wiggins if they happened to miss out on the playoffs. Beyond that dream situation it is expected to be a much deeper draft class to have a pick in.

In the end it is a case of wait and see on terms of Colangelo, Casey and the Raptors’ fate in terms of the draft. Once the choice is made on Colangelo and the draft lottery has taken place the Raptors off-season will truly start to take shape.

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